Sam Charles

Communications Manager

School of Engineering
Office: EME4242
Phone: 250.807.8136


Sam started at the Okanagan campus of the University of British in 2013 as a Senior Media Production Specialist with UBC Studios Okanagan.  After four years in that role, he transitioned into the Communications Manager role with the School of Engineering.

At the School of Engineering, he is responsible for developing strategic communication materials that highlight the innovative research and experiential learning on the Okanagan campus.  Sam is energized by telling the endlessly inspiring stories of the School’s researchers, students and staff.

With over twenty years of experience in communications, film, television and radio production, Sam is a seasoned professional communicator focused on generating dynamic and engaging content.

Sam has represented Canada three-times at Summer World University Games as Team Canada’s videographer documenting the Games for international audiences.  On Friday nights during the varsity season, he is the play-by-play voice (and technical advisor) for UBC Okanagan Heat basketball and volleyball webcasts on


Integrated strategic communications including social media; Develop, design, and maintain communications content; Media relations; Issues Management; Develop and prepare faculty awards nominations


Effective February 1, 2022, Dr. Rehan Sadiq will serve as UBC Okanagan’s Provost and Vice-President, Academic pro tem.

Dr. Sadiq is an exceptional member of our faculty who is an extraordinary teacher, researcher, and administrator who leads by example. He is a leader within his academic field, and garners national and international recognition for his research. He is a Professor of Civil Engineering and a Distinguished University Scholar and currently holds the position of Executive Associate Dean in the School of Engineering at UBC Okanagan. He is also a co-lead of the Life Cycle Management Laboratory at UBC.

A Professional Engineer with Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia since 2009, Dr. Sadiq serves on the Pakistan Engineering Council. He has been a member of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering (CSCE) since 2012, and was named a CSCE Fellow in 2021. Dr. Sadiq is also a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (FCAE). In 2021, he was named a University of British Columbia Distinguished Scholar (DSU). The prestigious DUS program recognizes members of UBC Faculty who have distinguished themselves as exceptional scholars including significant impact in the field, received international recognition as leaders in the field, a superior record in attracting and supervising students and trainees.

Dr Sadiq’s dynamic leadership of the School of Engineering has played an instrumental role in establishing the School as a beacon for both engineering education and research, emphasizing student experience and innovation in research.

While Dr. Sadiq takes on this important role, the Faculty of Applied Science Dean’s Office will provide additional support for Dr. Lukas Bichler (Director, pro tem) and the SOE leadership team during the transition.

See full announcements:

The roar of a turbine outside is a consistent and frequent sound that seems to energize the workstations inside the engineering department at KF Aerospace. Headquartered in Kelowna, KF provides heavy maintenance and modifications to aviation customers from around the world. The company completes over 1-million maintenance hours every year on more than 300 projects. Alongside its team of skilled technicians, KF also boasts an aerospace engineering team that features several UBC Okanagan engineering alumni and co-op students.

For engineering students at UBC Okanagan, the sound of planes taking off and landing on the other side of highway 97 at the Kelowna International Airport can be inspiring. Connor Badowich completed his BASc (’16) and MASc (’19) in Electrical Engineering at UBC Okanagan. His ambition from the time he was a kid was to become of an astronaut, and that journey led him to KF Aerospace.

“I feel very lucky to have found a role at this type of company, especially here in the Okanagan,” explains Badowich. “Since I came to UBCO, I have fallen in love with the region and everything it offers.”

Upon graduation, Badowich considered employers like Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and Bombardier, but it was his familiarity with the Okanagan and the opportunities that KF Aerospace provided that drew him to his current role. He attended a career fair, were he had the  opportunity to network with some of KF’s engineers. “After connecting with those engineers, I pursued a role persistently and jumped at the opportunity (to work here) when it was presented.”

As a Project Engineer in the Avionics department, Badowich works with customers on a project-to-project basis. Often aircraft arrive at KF Aerospace for maintenance, and the Project Engineering team looks after upgrades requested by customers that can be done concurrently with the maintenance. “We define the scope and requirements of the customer’s request, and then design a solution that meets those requirements.” Often the avionics team designs, installs and tests new equipment within the existing aircraft architecture.

According to Badowich, their location at the airport provides the perfect environment to undertake this work. “There is a lot of troubleshooting involved in connecting new systems within older aircraft, so we regularly head into the hangar and make adjustments or work through problems with technicians inside the aircraft.”

He also points to the importance of engineering fundamentals to the work he does today. “Anytime modifications are made to an aircraft, electrical load analysis and antenna pattern/frequency assessments are required to ensure these changes meet Transportation Canada’s requirements and receive appropriate approval.”

For as long as he can remember, Pradeep Pugalendhi has been fascinated by aviation. “What’s there not to like about a 100,000 lbs machine flying through the air?” Pugalendhi grew up in Lethbridge, AB and still remembers the first time he saw a CF-18 Hornet at the Lethbridge International Air Show. He’s been hooked on aviation ever since.

Pugalendhi graduated from UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering in June 2021. Prior to that, he completed an Engineering Technology diploma from NAIT, and transferred to UBC through the Camosun College bridge program. During his fourth year, one of his professors, Dr. Sina Kheirkhah, suggested he apply for an internship at KF. That internship has led to a full-time role as a Project Engineer.

Pugalendhi works in the structures side of KF’s project engineering, where the engineering fundamentals and project management skills he developed at UBC Okanagan are put into action. “My time at UBC really helped me gain the skills to problem solve, and my mechanical knowledge has been a crucial foundation for what I do today.”

With an eye on moving into management, Pugalendhi is continuing to develop the skills necessary to pursue that path.

KF Aerospace also offers co-op opportunities for engineering students. Just a few cubicles down from the desks of Badowich and Pugalendhi is Gary Todd who is a fourth-year electrical engineering co-op student in the Avionics department at KF.

Both KF Aerospace and UBC Okanagan are engines for the Okanagan economy, and continue to develop opportunities for collaboration. From co-op programs to research and employment, the future for both continues on an upward trajectory.

For Badowich, KF Aerospace is a terrific place to call home. “KF is an incredibly supportive company that provides so many opportunities for its employees, and is behind you to ensure those opportunities take flight.”

Shayan Sheikhi Narani, who is currently pursuing a PhD in civil engineering at UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering, was recently awarded a SRK Canada Graduate Scholarship for the 2021/22 academic year. The scholarship is intended to encourage and support post-graduate studies in fields related to the mining industry. Recipients are chosen based on their academic achievement, industry experience, and the area of research.

Narani is supervised by Associate Professor Sumi Siddiqua in the School of Engineering’s CFI-funded Advanced Geomaterials Testing lab where they undertake research related to the reuse of industry by-products, carbon capture and storage, climate change mitigation, energy pipelines, chemical stabilization of road subgrade materials, soil nano-particles, and soil-water chemistry.

Recently, he and Dr. Siddiqua published research related to fiber-reinforced soil where they analyzed the resiliency of soil reinforcement (using waste tire products) to improve engineering properties of soils prior to construction. The article was published this month in the Journal Measurement.

SRK Canada is an independent, international consultancy providing solutions to clients, mainly in the earth and water resource industries.

School of Engineering Executive Associate Dean Rehan Sadiq among the 2022 Fellows inducted by the Canadian Institute of Engineering (EIC).

The Engineering Institute of Canada, founded in 1887, recently announce the winning
recipients of its 2022 senior engineering awards and fellowship inductees. Dr. Sadiq is among 20 outstanding engineers being inducted as 2022 EIC Fellows for their exceptional contributions to engineering in Canada.

Dr. Sadiq is a Professional Engineer with Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia since 2009 and serves on the Pakistan Engineering Council. He has been a member of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering (CSCE) since 2012, and was named a CSCE Fellow in 2021.  Dr. Sadiq is also a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (FCAE). In 2021, Dr. Sadiq was named a University of British Columbia Distinguished Scholar.

With a proven track-record of more than 20-years of outstanding research, and based on his current research output, Dr. Sadiq continues to ranked in the top 2% of cited scientists worldwide according to a science-wide author databases of standardized citation indicators report prepared by Stanford University.

Dr. Sadiq is driven by a passion to ensure that clean water is available to everyone. His exceptional teaching, academic leadership and research accomplishments are a testament to his deep compassion for others, and his desire to safeguard and sustain water supplies to ensure their equitable distribution to all.

The 2022 EIC awards are scheduled to be presented along with 2021 and 2020 awards at the next EIC Gala/ Banquet which, pandemic circumstances allowing, will be held in-person in Ottawa on April 30, 2022.

School of Engineering Post-Doctoral Fellow Chinchu Cherian was recently recognized at the 2021 UBC Okanagan Postdoc Research Day.

The event was organized by UBC Okanagan’s Postdoctoral Association in collaboration with UBC Vancouver’s Postdoctoral Association and supported by the UBC Okanagan’s College of Graduate Studies. Dr. Cherian received the event’s best presentation award for her presentation titled “Evaluating the use of wood ash residue from Canadian pulp mills for stabilization of burnt forest soils- A novel method to increase resilience to wildfires and landslides.” The presentation provided an overview of her research investigating the viability of wood ash, a pulp mill waste by-product, for long-term stabilization of wildfire-impacted forest soils.

Dr. Cherian is supervised by Dr. Sumi Siddiqua at UBC Okanagan’s Advanced Geomaterials Testing Lab.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) program allows students to explore research through a 12 to 16 week project supervised by research faculty.

Although she was confident and hopeful applying for an IUSRA, Shriya Agrawal was thrilled when she was accepted into the program. Working in Dr. Joshua Brinkerhoff’s UBC-Okanagan Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Agrawal investigated the impact of environmentally-friendlier and cheaper fuel alternatives in the marine, transportation, and aviation industries.

“I have been contemplating a Master’s degree in the field, and this experience provided me with a hands-on opportunity to explore what real research is all about,” says Agrawal. She pointed to both her supervisor and a PhD candidate in the lab, Kasper Petersen, for providing guidance and support during her research.

“The imposter’s syndrome I experienced every now and then, especially going into the work term, quickly disappeared due to the humility I was shown by Dr. Brinkerhoff and Kasper. They were enthusiastic, motivational, supportive and also incredibly knowledgeable, helping me through a lot of the technical difficulties and lack of understanding I faced in the lab.”

As a result of Agrawal’s contributions, the researchers were able to develop simulations that were 110-times faster than previous versions enabling industries to accurately predict the scope of spills, and providing an important tool for clean-up crews.

“Shriya was an indispensable member of our team, and really epitomized the important role that IUSRA researchers can play in innovative research,” explains Brinkerhoff.

During her work term, Agrawal increased her understanding of computational fluid dynamics, and gained confidence in her ability to communicate in a professional capacity. “The most important thing the experience taught me was that, no matter how scary it may seem or how little I might know, if I simply follow my interest and curiosity, great things happen.”

Every year, undergraduate students (both domestic and international) are invited to apply for URSA and IUSRA. The program allows students who are eligible to work in Canada, and returning to their studies the following term, to participate in paid research during the summer.

Fourth-year electrical engineering student Tianyu (Alex) Shi spent last summer investigating potential technological innovations that the Bank of Canada can utilize to develop a made-in-Canada central bank digital currency (CBDC).

“The evolution of digital and cryto-currencies have prompted the Bank of Canada to develop their own cash-like central bank digital currency,” explains Shi. “I was fortunate enough to be assigned an IUSRA to research the design and implementation of a CBDC in Canada.” Working alongside Assistant Professor Chen Feng, the co-cluster lead of Blockchain@UBC, UBC Okanagan Principal’s Research Chair in Blockchain, Shi spent a co-op work term working on an IUSRA multi-disciplinary project that covered finance, economics, computer science, and engineering design.

“Tianyu has conducted an in-depth survey of design principles for central bank digital currency with a particular focus on CBDC proposals from several leading Canadian universities,” says Feng.  “He also investigated the Chinese digital currency to gain additional insight into how the Bank of Canada can improve their own cash-like central bank digital currency.”

The comprehensive report developed by Shi provided a technical analysis of existing technologies, and technological properties the central bank should consider in their proposed digital currency.

According to Shi, the IURSA is a valuable addition to his graduate studies applications. “Being able to work on an emerging technology has inspired me to dig deeper, learn how to do proper academic research, and paved the way for me to continue my work in this area.” Shi is planning on pursuing a Masters after he completes his undergraduate studies later this year.

“The opportunity for undergraduate students to conduct cutting-edge research is invaluable, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with gifted students like Tianyu.

Every year, undergraduate students (both domestic and international) are invited to apply for USRA and IUSRA. The program allows students who are eligible to work in Canada, and returning to their studies the following term, to participate in paid research during the summer.

Ashish Giri is the 2021 Dr. Spiro Yannacopoulos International Engineering Student Memorial Award

After a year spent back in Nepal pursuing his studies online during the pandemic, Ashish Giri is thrilled to be studying in-person on campus at UBC Okanagan. The second-year mechanical engineering student at the School of Engineering has spent the first-term focused on his studies and exploring all that the Okanagan has to offer including his first snow and hiking on Knox Mountain.

Giri took a gap year prior to starting his studies in 2020, and found the online experience challenging especially given the the time difference. Nepal is 13-hours and 45-minutes ahead of Pacific Time, so Giri would wake up in the middle of the night to take classes and participate in group projects. All that hard-work paid off as he was recently recognized with the Dr. Spiro Yannacopoulos International Engineering Student Memorial Award.

“Being recognized with this award means that the faculty has put a lot of faith in me, so I need to continue to work hard to prove them right,” says Giri.

The Dr. Spiro Yannacopoulos International Engineering Student Memorial Award recognizes a continuing international undergraduate student in the School of Engineering who demonstrates strong academic achievement and engagement in their faculty, as well as the potential to make a scholarly contribution within their chosen field of study.

Dr. Yannacopoulos held the roles of Director of the School of Engineering since 2006 and Associate Dean of Applied Science from 2008 through August 2015. His contributions to UBC, and in particular the Okanagan campus were extraordinary, and his leadership contributed to the School of Engineering’s success as one of Canada’s newest and fastest-growing engineering schools.

“Dr. Spiro Yannacopoulos left a lasting legacy on UBC, and his contributions inspire me to dig deeper and try to make a similar impact during my studies,” explains Giri.

For more information about the Dr. Spiro Yannacopoulos International Engineering Student Memorial Award visit

An innovative new coating for face masks as earned Dr. Dr. Seyyedarash Haddadi the Mitacs & NRC-IRAP Award for Commercialization.

Image courtesy of Mitacs

Haddadi, a post-doctoral fellow at UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering works alongside Dr. Mohammad Arjmand at the Nanomaterials and Polymer Nanocomposites Laboratory (NPNL) has developed a new compound that has a greater than 99-percent effectiveness as an antimicrobial fabric coating.

The compound originated as Haddadi pivoted from designing anti-corrosion coatings to virus prevention at the start of pandemic. The antiviral material made with graphene oxide and silver recently received approval from Health Canada, and is in the process of being integrated into face masks around the world.

The research is a collaboration with Zentek (formerly ZEN Graphene Solutions), under the director of Dr. Colin van der Kurr. Haddadi has been undertaking the experiments at Zentek’s lab in Guelph, Ontario.

Their findings indicate that the coating, when incorporated into surgical masks, reduces transmission of active pathogens by more than 99.99 per cent including COVID-19 viral particles and bacteria. According to Haddadi, only a small amount of the coating is highly effective. “One gram of material is sufficient to coat 300 masks, making this a very affordable large-scale solution.”

The Mitacs & NRC-IRAP Award for Commercialization recognizes Haddadi’s work in developing the first-ever graphene oxide-based material approved for consumer use as an antimicrobial fabric coating.

After receiving Health Canada approval in late September, Zentek made its first commercial sale of the novel coating — marketed as ZenGuard™, for use in four-ply masks. Zentek is also investing $6 million to build its own manufacturing capacity to produce enough coating and coated materials for up to 800 million antimicrobial face masks per month by early next year.

Mitacs played an important role in the innovation’s success. “Mitacs helped me commercialize my research in two important ways,” says Haddadi. “It introduced me to research and industry in Canada, and secondly, the stipend Mitacs provided enabled me to focus on my research and discovery so I didn’t have to find a second job and could focus on developing my research.”

Haddadi is one of eight Mitacs award winners nationally, chosen from thousands of researchers who take part in Mitacs programs each year. The remaining seven recipients were recognized for outstanding innovation, commercialization or exceptional leadership in other areas of research.

Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions.

For more information about the Mitacs awards and a full list of winners, visit


Written with contributed content from Mitacs


Abdul Waheed Ahmadi is a MEng (Civil Engineering) student who is working towards graduating in 2022.

Why did you choose to pursue studies at UBC Okanagan?

I wanted to pursue a graduate degree that is industry focused. The MEng program offered at UBC Okanagan’s campus was the ideal option as it allowed me a head start in the Canadian industry through its co-op program. Additionally, UBC’s high global ranking coupled with the scenic (and calm) Okanagan life made it an easy choice.

What has the experience been like thus far?

It has been amazing in spite of the challenges imposed due to COVID-19 pandemic. The beautiful campus provides its students with state-of-the-art resources, laboratories, and facilities, empowering us to pursue our passion.  Despite, being thousands of kilometers away from home, the welcoming community of Kelowna has made my experience very joyous and peaceful.

Describe your research:

During my third term I got a chance to work along other researchers in one of Dr. Shahria Alam’s laboratories, developing the new generation buckling restrained bracing systems. This project course gave me a chance to explore research field and enrich even further my graduate experience.

What do you enjoy about working with your supervisor and research group?

Working in the research laboratory, among great minds, is one of the more exhilarating parts of my graduate degree. Though I worked in the lab for a short time, through this opportunity I was able to observe and learn different aspects of engineering research. It challenged me to improve both my soft skills and hard skills. Even though I am not a research student, Dr. Anas Issa’s mentoring throughout the course proved to be fruitful and profound.

Can you talk about the importance of the EGSS to your experience at UBC Okanagan (Waheed serves as the EGSS VP External)?

The EGSS community is a growing community of graduate students. It is a great opportunity for me help the team facilitate events for graduate students and be a bridge for my peers in connecting their issues with the responsible authorities.

What do you like to do when you are not in the lab?

Reading fictional book, exercising in the gym, and hanging out with friends.

Can you describe your transition to living in Canada?

Being a student who pursued undergraduate degree away from home, adjusting to life in Canada did not prove to be too challenging. The facilities offered at UBC Okanagan, and the warm welcoming community of Kelowna, made Canada a home away from home.

Looking to the future, where do you see yourself? And what will you be doing?

From the beginning, my intention was to work in the industry. So, in October 2021 I started my Co-op work term. For the near future I will be focusing on building my knowledge about the construction industry in Canada and will see from there where the journey takes me.

Best advice you have received so far at UBC?

Reach out, in fact this is a great advice to all the new graduate students. You have to reach out in order for others to know what you need, you can’t imagine how many opportunities will pop up along the way.

Advise you’d give to a student considering UBC Okanagan for their graduate studies?

You are considering pursuing your graduate degree in one of the best universities in the world. So, once you are at UBC, reach out. There are tons of opportunities and resources waiting for you. You will be exhausted exploring them.